An Interview with Ohio State Great Robert Smith

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Knarcisi's picture

Interesting detail around the situation with Uzelac. 

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CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

Robert was a great back at OSU.  Might not be one of the first ones that comes to mind when you are thinking of the top ones ie Hyde, Beannie, Archie, Hop a long, but his long striding speed made him a top notch back. 

Great article and I appreciate getting a little more view into his younger days and situation while he was a player.  Robert has always carried himself with class and is a great representative of Ohio State!

Go Bucks!

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buckeyedude's picture

I agree. R. Smith's stride was more like that of Ted Ginn's. Loooooong stride and once he's up to speed, he gone.

"If you're not changing, you're falling behind."

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NuttyBuckeye's picture

When I saw Robert run, he reminded me of OJ Simpson and Eric Dickerson.  He had that straight-up style and he seemed to just chew up yards with each stride.  You could tell he was a track guy playing football, his running form was easy and effortless.  Great back...

What's round on the ends and high in the middle? Tell me if you know!

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chemicalwaste's picture

Not that you named bad ones but, Eddie? Where's Eddie?

Ignorance isn't bliss for the rest of us.

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ShawneeBuck74's picture

All that stuff with Uzelac was a shame. Watching Smith run was amazing, he was so smooth it almost looked effortless at times. Had some of the drama not happened, Smith would have been a Heisman trophy contender.  You saw what he could do as a pro.  Too bad about the injuries, too.  He was also a sharp pre-med guy who approached everything in a very cerebral manner.  You can tell he just thinks about things on a different level even to this day. 

You win with people. 

And so forth...

9 Units Strong!

 

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buckeyepastor's picture

I like Smith.  He's critical at times of OSU, but I think he's very fair and honest about it.  It helps a lot to hear the insider details on his days at OSU.  As a fan and student at the time, what I remember hearing was that he was upset with the school because the program wasn't allowing him to study and take his academics seriously.   Part of me, at the time, thought "Well aren't you a delicate flower?  I guess he can't handle it as well as most."  Years later, more mature and understanding the magnitude of the franchise that is OSU football, he was probably absolutely right in taking the stand he did.   Clearly, history has vindicated him from any fault in the drama.  

"Woody would have wanted it that way" 

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Floyd Stahl's picture

I don't doubt that a lot of what Smith says is true, as there are two sides to every story, and the truth usually falls somewhere in the middle. I had it on good word from someone who was on staff on the team at the time that what happened was that Smith had spent much of the summer quarter putting off his studies and hitting the bars, probably not too different from any other player or OSU student. Towards the end of the quarter, he was cramming to make up for lost time, and was thus pulling some late night study sessions. The problem at the time was that there was a curfew for the players as they had begun fall camp, and that's where the problems began, as he was "caught" studying a couple of times after it was lights off, and then made claims that they were limiting his studying. I don't doubt that Uzelac acted the way that he did, but my understanding was that Smith brought on his own troubles initially by prolonging his studies until late in the quarter.

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TossTrap's picture

Good article. It's the first time I have read about what happened to Smith at OSU. There are some big egos in the coaching profession. 

And how bad could the ESPN bias against OSU be if they fired Trev Alberts and hired Robert Smith.

First and goal at the five and Arch is getting the ball.

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cajunbuckeye's picture

As Paul Harvey used to say, "And that's the rest of the story!"  Fantastic interview. Better to walk away early than to limp away late. More athletes should take these words of wisdom to heart.

An angry fan...rooting for an angry team...led by angry coaches

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Fatpants's picture

Crazy. Way to rise above a bad childhood situation and make good. 

PG <3 PG

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TressesVest's picture

I really dont want to hate on him.and up until last week I had no reason. I wasnt old enough to watch him play but I always liked having a buckeye on college football live, but this last week he was talking about the offensive line and he said "they are going to be young, but they have lindsay coming back and moving from the right side to the left side"
1.) There is no lindsay.
2.) Could have meant linsley, but hes gone
3.) Linsley was a center
I understand its hard to mix up players especially offensive linemen, but most of the people on this site could tell you the propablr starting line for next season, and most of us dont have the access to ohio state that he does. And we definitely dont get paid to talk football. And on that same episode he said if he could go back he might have gone to usc or ucla. I actually kind of understand this more after reading this article, but still dont say you regret going to ohio state on live tv. And also I notice that he didnt get into football till later and he mever really watched college football growing up. So maybe he doesnt follow everything as closely as we do. I know im going to probably be labeled as a hater for this but unless you saw the show then you wouldnt understand how wrong he was. And why cant we get a biased person in there. Matt millen always talks about penn state and jesse palmer never has a bad thing to say about florida

As a lifelong buckeye fan, im boycotting robert smith

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Poison nuts's picture

Yep, Tressesvest - Chad Lindsay. Transfer from Bama. It would appear that Robert Smith is a professional college football analyst & knows his stuff just fine. 

Get busy living.

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IGotAWoody's picture

I'm sure he was referring to the Alabama transfer, Chad Lindsay. I'm not going to pick nits about the commentary, because I didn't see the show. It is true that his commentary often reveals that he doesn't follow the ins and outs of each team, especially OSU, the way we do. But his football IQ is off the charts, and his commentary about what happens on the field is always spot on. 

“The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” – Theodore Roosevelt

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IBLEEDSCARLETANDGRAY's picture

No television analyst/pundit follows the Buckeyes like we do. To do so (and also follow every other team religiously) they'd never have time to do their job let alone living a normal life. What I love about Smith is he's fair but doesn't go out of his way to appear unbiased. Herbie could learn a thing or two from him.

I saw Robert Smith in the 1992 Louisville game in the Shoe and I could not get over how graceful a runner he was. He was the fastest guy on the field and he made it look effortless. I also saw him run the 400 meters in a meet at Central State University and he won by like 40 meters against some fast people. It was totally ridiculous how talented he was and on top of that, he's a genius and could've been a doctor.

"You're the patron saint of the totally effed" - Hot Tub Time Machine

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Crimson's picture

Yes, Lindsay is a transfer from Alabama, but he was a center there and is likely to be a center (or a left guard, I guess) here, so that does not fit.  I'm assuming that he meant Decker, since he's the one who we assume is moving from right tackle to left.  Two different story lines, combined.

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AngryWoody's picture

I am officially labeling you a hater.

MGoBlog Blocked Me On Twitter.

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DaveStephens's picture

Love these articles.  He's easily one of my favorite analysists on ESPN.  No BS, no gimmicks, just straight information and insight.

The Dude abides.

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BuckInNashville's picture

Amazing that he had such a work ethic and academic dedication coming from a home he constantly escaped from - a tribute to his mom and coaches it sounds like.

I wonder if his TV contract enables him to be a mentor to kids at his alma mater. Guys with a similar background could see how he beat the odds.

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BuckInNashville's picture

Tressesvest I think Chad Lindsay is the center who came from Alabama. It's one of those situations where a guy graduates with eligibility, like Russell Wilson.

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TressesVest's picture

Okay. Not that he will read this but I apologize to robert smith. Thats why he gets paid and I don't lol

As a lifelong buckeye fan, im boycotting robert smith

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Chief B1G Dump's picture

^^^^^^ Are you still boycotting R Smith?

The world wants to know. 

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theopulas's picture

i like Smith too, and always will, and i know he works there but i think he sees the bias at espn, but thinks it goes with being OSU....but no way Alabama and some others get the same treatment...but we haven't won a NC in over a decade either.....so most there think we have to much swagger....

Theopulas

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Floyd Stahl's picture

Not to mention that ESPN doesn't have a personal agenda against their commissioner and conference like they do with Delaney because of the B1G network and the way he snubbed them and their low-ball contract offer.

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gumtape's picture

Michael, you didn't ask him why he got caught from behind on that wheel route in the citrus bowl...

I kid, I kid.

High and tight boo boo

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Habu71's picture

Was always a fan of Smith, and still am. The two top Ohio RB at that time were Smith, and Ricky Powers out of Akron. Smith chose TOSU and Powers went up north. 

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gumtape's picture

Powers is currently the Football Coach at Akron Buchtel HS. He actually does a pretty good job and represents the area well. I would not disregard his contributions as a mentor and leader of young men.

http://www.cleveland.com/hssports/blog/index.ssf/2013/08/post_17.html

High and tight boo boo

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Zaphod Beeblebrox's picture

Powers was unstoppable while at Buchtel, led them to back-to-back state titles. Oh why couldn't he have gone to Garfield instead!

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Habu71's picture

I think most who read it received it as a shot at Ohio *ichigan men, and not a personal attack. Never the less, "relevance" comment removed out of respect for the work he does now. 

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Poison nuts's picture

Great interview Michael - this was an interesting read. I didn't know any of that stuff about the coach at OSU who was fired & it was all interesting.  Sometimes coaches can be bullies & may need standing up to. Look at the guy at Rutgers...a bad guy that needed to go. Robert's a straight shooter & I like hearing him speak on Saturdays because you get the feeling he's giving you solid info.

Get busy living.

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buckeyedude's picture

I would love to see Robert Smith take the seat vacated by Lou Holtz on ESPN, since The Man Who Wears Women's Underwear is still there. They need someone to counter M.M. and OSU hatred. I might even watch ESPN in that case.

"If you're not changing, you're falling behind."

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aerobuck's picture

you bet. He had college and pro experience, and is articulate and professional.  

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Boom777's picture

Howard the Hunk!!!! Lmao!!!!

Wherever you are, there you be!

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denner's picture

Good article.  Would have liked to hear more about his track time at OSU as well.  I saw him run in HS, he was incredible.  If memory serves he along with Sanders (?) and Chris Nelloms won a NCAA track relay title in the 4x400.

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BGBOY's picture

He would have been a two time state champ and would have held the state record in the 400 at the Ohio High School track meet if it hadn't been for Chris Nelloms.

You can tune a piano but you can't tuna fish.

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MN Buckeye's picture

Loved watching Smith at OSU and with the Vikings. I highly respected his commitment to academics, so it is interesting to me how programs are selling academics to recruits today. I wonder exactly how committed certain programs really are. Urban has made this a huge priority.

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teddyballgame's picture

I wonder if he could hook me up with Wendi Nix.  I got a thing for her.
 

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1967Buck's picture

Thank you Mr Citro, very nice write up. So I have to ask, what happen to Mr Uzelac? Did he ever coach again? Peace.

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Michael Citro's picture

Yes, he bounced around quite a bit: Cleveland Browns, Colorado, Kentucky, Minnesota, Maryland and Georgetown. Most recently he was head coach of St. Joseph High School in Michigan.

One thing that Robert told me that got cut for length was that Smith was talking to a coach (who he wouldn't name) who told him that he also had problems working with Uzelac.

This probably happens a lot more in coaching circles than we know.

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ibuck's picture

Edit: Citro must have posted after I downloaded the page.  After Browns, here's a link to a string of colleges and a couple high schools.

Our honor defend, so we'll fight to the end !

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Todd-Not Boeckmann's picture

His rivalry in high school with St Ignatius was legendary.  In my life, he was the scariest high school player I ever saw.  Every time he touched the ball, we held our breath because he could take it to the house so easily.  Euclid lost 6 games in three years....all to Ignatius.  But they were all close games.  

jebes Michigana

jebi rak

Ako ne možete postavljati bez gluposti ... nemojte
 

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Clevelander's picture

There were some tremendous Euclid teams during that era that ran into the then up and coming WIldcats. Tons of talent between the two programs.

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BroJim's picture

Really only knew he was a RB for Ohio State. Thanks for the Buckeye history bit!

I season my simple food with hunger

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AngryWoody's picture

I became and Ohio State fan in the Tressel years, but I have never been a fan of the Cooper era and this just reinforces that for me.

MGoBlog Blocked Me On Twitter.

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Zaphod Beeblebrox's picture

Only a Buckeye fan since the Tricky Tressel years? Interesting.

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poop's picture

It's tough to find any highlights of this guy at OSU but from what I've seen he was elite. Gotta love that speed!

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Buckeye Chuck's picture

Smith had as much raw talent as any back I've ever seen here. If he had been truly obsessed with football, he might have been one of the greatest ever, and even so he was still pretty damn good.

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

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Jpfbuck's picture

as a side note, Elliot Uzelac went on to coach for many years after leaving/fired by OSU, He coached one year with the Browns in 1992, then was the OC at Colorado in 93/94, then OC at Kentucky in 95/96, then OC at Minny in 97, then an OL coach for MD from 98-2000, then did a stint as a HS DC at a HS in Wash DC in 02/03, then a couple years as OC for 1AA Georgetown in 04-05 and finally a multi year HC for ST Joseph HS in St Joseph MI from 06-10 where he went 45-13 in 5 years and was once named MI HS coach of the year

so he coached for another 18 years after his run in with Smith

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BuckeyeViking's picture

First ever post. Love Robert Smith as a Buckeye and as a Viking. Just gotta say Elliot Uzelac got the bum deal on this. I was in school at the time at OSU. Smitty was pampered and he was wrong in this situation. It was his Sophmore year and he was taking like Chemistry 102 which comes after Chemistry 101, the first level. There were tons of options as far as times when Smitty could have scheduled this class, especially as a first priority scheduling athlete. He was right there was tension between the two and Smitty kind of pushed it further. It was also pretty weak that Smitty used the "I want to go to Med School " line as he was a C student in college and obviously never pursued that or anything close to it. I am not defending Uzelac just calling how I saw it when I was there. Smitty is obviously a very smart guy and very successful and well spoken. I am just calling it how I saw it. I could be wrong.

BuckeyeViking

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wyatt's picture

Great update on Robert Smith. I took my kids to the Spring game in 1990 and Robert couldn't have been nicer. He stood and signed autographs to everyone who wanted one. He was a superstar at the time. He's doing a good job on ESPN. Very straight forward with his opinions. 

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raki's picture

Really like him at ESPN, Fair and Honest critique.

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c11058's picture

Having been coached by Elliott Uzelac in the past, I can fully understand and believe what Robert said about his dealings with the man.  The many jobs he's held in his career shows that he wore out his welcome soon after he took any new position.  With his success at the HS level, maybe he's learned how to deal with people better, over time.  Great interview with Robert, who's always represented the Cleveland area and OSU very well.

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MassiveAttack's picture

Used to have English 110 with him fall of my freshman year (1989).  Real quiet cat, headphones on a lot.  But he took his studies seriously.  He always contributed intelligently when called upon. 

I also worked Summer Conference Housing the year he left the team.  He was there when they first checked in, but he disappeared before the summer was over, and it was a big rumor mill for a while.  But what was stated in the interview above, was the final story I heard back then.  At least there is consistency.

Cooper was known for not being heavily involved with his personel or players.

The Ohio State University - "Haters love us!" 
Baskin Robbins? Nah, Haskins Dobbins - KannonMic

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whiskeyjuice's picture

Great insight on the program at that time. I had no idea the stuff going on behind the scenes!!!  I'm still not sure I understand the situation with Uzelac. Why would he not want Robert Smith around the program? Why wouldn't you want him on your offense?

"Championships are not won on Saturdays in November. Championships are won on Tuesdays in August." -- Kerry Combs

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jpbuckeye's picture

If he watched Ren and Stimpy as well as MST3K his is all right in my book. :-)

Overall his work with ESPN seems fair and balanced. His work at OSU was outstanding: on and off the field. On the latter I remember cramming for O-Chem; fun in retrospect but not at the time.

Nice read. Thanks!

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Fort Seneca Steve's picture

What a great interview.  I had the same thing happen to me at a small college in Ohio.  There was an offensive coordinator who rode my back for an entire season.  It lead to a blow up on the practice field one day, which really sealed my fate at that school.  At the end of that season I walked away from a sport I really enjoyed, stayed in college and got my degree.  I went on to be a junior high and eventually a high school coach in both football and basketball.  I always made it my point to care for each and every boy who played for me, always putting their development and enjoyment of the game before victory.  I have never seen nor heard from that college coach, but now that I am retired, many of my former players still contact me to express their appreciation of the short time we spent together as coach and athlete.  I guess I did learn a lesson from that college coach...how NOT to treat people.  I often thing of my own playing career and wish it had turned out different, but I would not trade my career in education and coaching for anything.  For that, I am thankful everyday and miss it more that my own playing days.

Before there was Larry Bird, there was "Hondo" John Havilcek! The Pride of Martins Ferry, Ohio!

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